My City of Ruins
Sovereign God, I praise and worship You today that You and You alone are the ruler of all creation!
Read REVELATION 18:1-24
 After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven. He had great authority, and the earth was illuminated by his splendor.  With a mighty voice he shouted: “Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great! She has become a home for demons and a haunt for every evil spirit, a haunt for every unclean and detestable bird.  For all the nations have drunk the maddening wine of her adulteries. The kings of the earth committed adultery with her, and the merchants of the earth grew rich from her excessive luxuries.”  Then I heard another voice from heaven say: “Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues;  for her sins are piled up to heaven, and God has remembered her crimes.  Give back to her as she has given; pay her back double for what she has done. Mix her a double portion from her own cup.  Give her as much torture and grief as the glory and luxury she gave herself. In her heart she boasts, ‘I sit as queen; I am not a widow, and I will never mourn.’  Therefore in one day her plagues will overtake her: death, mourning and famine. She will be consumed by fire, for mighty is the Lord God who judges her.  “When the kings of the earth who committed adultery with her and shared her luxury see the smoke of her burning, they will weep and mourn over her.  Terrified at her torment, they will stand far off and cry: “‘Woe! Woe, O great city, O Babylon, city of power! In one hour your doom has come!’  “The merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her because no one buys their cargoes any more-  cargoes of gold, silver, precious stones and pearls; fine linen, purple, silk and scarlet cloth; every sort of citron wood, and articles of every kind made of ivory, costly wood, bronze, iron and marble;  cargoes of cinnamon and spice, of incense, myrrh and frankincense, of wine and olive oil, of fine flour and wheat; cattle and sheep; horses and carriages; and bodies and souls of men.  “They will say, ‘The fruit you longed for is gone from you. All your riches and splendor have vanished, never to be recovered.’  The merchants who sold these things and gained their wealth from her will stand far off, terrified at her torment. They will weep and mourn  and cry out: “‘Woe! Woe, O great city, dressed in fine linen, purple and scarlet, and glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls!  In one hour such great wealth has been brought to ruin!’ “Every sea captain, and all who travel by ship, the sailors, and all who earn their living from the sea, will stand far off.  When they see the smoke of her burning, they will exclaim, ‘Was there ever a city like this great city?’  They will throw dust on their heads, and with weeping and mourning cry out: “‘Woe! Woe, O great city, where all who had ships on the sea became rich through her wealth! In one hour she has been brought to ruin!  Rejoice over her, O heaven! Rejoice, saints and apostles and prophets! God has judged her for the way she treated you.'”  Then a mighty angel picked up a boulder the size of a large millstone and threw it into the sea, and said: “With such violence the great city of Babylon will be thrown down, never to be found again.  The music of harpists and musicians, flute players and trumpeters, will never be heard in you again. No workman of any trade will ever be found in you again. The sound of a millstone will never be heard in you again.  The light of a lamp will never shine in you again. The voice of bridegroom and bride will never be heard in you again. Your merchants were the world’s great men. By your magic spell all the nations were led astray.  In her was found the blood of prophets and of the saints, and of all who have been killed on the earth.” Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectHow does heaven react to Babylon’s destruction (20)?
Now comes a clarion call to the readers of John’s letter: get out while there’s still time! What we see here are not the actual acts of destruction prophesied in ch. 17, but the reactions of onlookers to the destruction—governments and businesses that profited from her excesses. They are all standing far off in fear of their lives; they are all horrified that they could be ruined “in a single hour.”
I wonder if we could identify ourselves in some way with one of these groups: Those who get their sense of power and legitimacy from the world—like the kings in vs. 9,10? Those who are seduced by the wealth and luxury of this world—like the merchants in vs. 11-17a? Or those whose identity and security are bound up in the trade and business of the work this world provides—like the sailors and seafarers of vs. 17b-20?
We must heed the warning of the voice from heaven not to allow our citizenship of the world to compromise our status as God’s holy people. That is a serious, mournful mistake.
Think on how God sometimes prunes our lives with trials so we rely on him alone. Thank him for that.
Lord and King Jesus, thank You for the warnings and instructions in Your Word. Help me to carefully heed them.
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